Head Over Heels on Plants

Well if you’ve been following my blog or Instagram pics then you already know I’m  a big fan of my Power Bowls; there really is so much variety to them – you could give each dish their own name, but at the end of the day it’s a bunch of healthy ingredients that are eaten out of a bowl…hence the name. Anyway, I already did a lengthy written post with pics about these magical Power Bowls, so here I thought I would just simply do a quick video on me actually putting one of these bad boys together. Again, you could really add in whatever different ingredient you want with these: the base (grain), the veggies, legumes, meat alternatives, seeds/nuts, and of course the jazz! Each ingredient serves a purpose, for taste and health! I let the video explain the rest, so here it is; go get head over heels on plants!

 

Olympic Level Compassion

It’s always great to come across inspirational stories, they leave you with a lasting feeling of hope, positivity, and they usually carry a learning opportunity within that message. This video is one such story; Dotsie Bausch is an olympic athlete that does an incredible job of explaining all the key points (the animals, your health, and the environment) of choosing a plant based lifestyle in such a short presentation. She really hits the nail on the head here, and I think everyone (omnivores and carnivores alike) can learn something from her journey. Take 15 minutes out of your day and give this video a watch; careful though, it might bring about irreversible awareness!

 

Good on Dotsie here to be living proof of an elite athlete doing it all on a plant based diet, and addressing that damn protein issue [myth]. Yes people, believe it or not, you can build muscles and excel as an elite athlete on a plant based diet! Meat/dairy is not the only answer to protein! Moreover, not only can you get your daily required dose of protein from a plant based diet, but you can also be an extreme athlete on a plant based diet – as Dotsie explains in the video.

Definition of Compassiona feeling of distress and pity for the suffering or misfortune of another, often including the desire to alleviate it. 

We are all compassionate individuals by nature; we have compassion for our family members, our friends, our pets, and even towards strangers. As a human, it would be very hard for anyone to actually be inside one of these factory farms and see the suffering of these animals, and then feel absolutely nothing towards them – especially as they are being dragged away to slaughter. Yet, as consumers, we are all completely disconnected from this harsh reality – it’s out of sight, and therefore out of mind (ignorance is bliss) for us. We simply go to the grocery store, see a nice package that we have been conditioned to see as food, purchase it, and then cook it and eat it. We don’t see that package as containing the decomposing remains of what was once a sentient being; the meat, and poultry industries do a great job of making sure that the masses don’t awaken to that fact. Unfortunately, this is the harsh reality, and for most it is too difficult to confront, so they intentionally continue on in a state of blissful ignorance.

Well personally, I choose awareness! See the truth, see it for what it really is! Open your eyes and your mind, educate yourself on the topic! As a consumer you have the power to vote with your dollar everyday; by choosing to spend your money on something, you are choosing to support that product/company/industry/option. So know what you are supporting and contributing to; see the truth, choose compassion, and execute accordingly!

 

 

 

 

The Pacific Garbage Patch

Do you ever think about what happens to all the plastic items you buy and use in your daily life? Do you ever give any thought to the fact that a plastic bottle can take up to 450 years to degrade? If you don’t, you are not alone; most people don’t even think twice about it. Well, our addiction to plastics is really causing a huge problem to our environment, and the many ecosystems around the globe. This problem deserves our attention!

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I get it, buying a plastic bottle of water is super convenient, and from a manufacturing standpoint for the companies making them, it is also very cost effective. But this is where we as consumers need to become more educated as to what happens to all this plastic, and the garbage that we throw out daily/weekly in our homes, offices, schools, etc. If more people knew about how all this plastic is affecting our environment, I think more people would stop and think twice before continuing to purchase more plastic products. This is where the documentary Plastic Paradise comes in; here is another gem (on Netflix) I wish everyone could watch, simply to learn more about the topic, and become aware! Do yourself a favor, and give this doc a watch!

The information provided in this documentary was super eye-opening for me! I am now much more conscious about the things I choose to purchase when I’m at the store or out and about shopping. Simple changes like, opting for drinks in glass containers instead of plastic, or using reusable grocery bags or paper bags at the store instead of the plastic bags, or using reusable cups instead of styrofoam cups; all these minor changes can add up and have a major impact in the long run. Oh, and receipts (as in the receipt paper)!! Wow I will never think of those the same way again after watching this…you might want to think twice about taking/handling that receipt that the attendant at the checkout counter is handing you. Did you know that the receipt paper is actually coated with BPA, and when we handle that receipt paper with our hands we are actually being exposed to AND absorbing levels of BPA directly into our skin?!! Yikes!!

Anyway, I could easily provide a dozen more links on this plastics/garbage issue, but my point here is not to write a research paper. This documentary alone is very comprehensive and does a great job of illustrating the cause and effect relationship of this garbage problem – so I’ll leave it at that.

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We as consumers have the power to drive change; use your dollar to vote for less plastic by simply purchasing less plastic products, and opt for the alternatives – glass, aluminum, paper, etc. We can drive up the demand for those items, and drive down the demand for plastics one purchase at a time. And make those small adjustments in your every day life; reuse, recycle! Moreover, this topic is not just limited to plastics, this is all garbage in general! We never really give any thought to what happens to our garbage after we throw it out; but it is in our best interest, and that of our precious environment that we start to give a damn! I mean, I am no saint myself, some items just don’t come in a plastic alternative packaging yet. Or sometimes when you are traveling or on the go, you can’t really find any good plastic alternatives- so you are forced to buy plastic. Nonetheless, I am learning, and now that I am aware of the issue, I am making a conscious effort to buy less plastic products.

Also, while I’m on this topic of plastic, I also highly recommend checking out the
documentary called Tapped; this will really open your eyes to the scam that is the bottled water industry, and the poisonous chemicals that are leaching into the water in your handy dandy convenient plastic bottle…scary!

 

Gain some awareness, watch the documentary!

 

 

Bake That Sparg!

Gotta love baking up some asparagus, it’s healthy, tasty, and adds some great sabor to your meal! Just like my tempeh, I like to bake my asparagus. However, every now and then I do like to just chop it up and throw it in a hot pan to cook it up, or boil it; just go with whatever strikes you at the time…treat yo self!

For me, most of the time I add asparagus to my power bowls for dinner, but you can definitely add the sparg to a nice salad, perhaps a wrap, or whatever the hell else you feel like adding it to. By baking it, you get that delicious taste and texture of crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. It adds a nice crunch to your meals, and it’s a great way to get your greens! So next time you are at the store, and looking to add some greens into your mix – other than just kale, grab some organic asparagus, and bake that shit right up!

 

Here is how I like to eat my baked asparagus…Power Bowl bang!! Mmmmm Yummy!

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Get amongst it! Give it a try! Eat your veggies!!

Things You Hear As a Vegan

Ohhh man, this video is too good!! It really hits the nail on the head with so many vegan issues, and/or comments you hear as a vegan! But, this is also a great video for all non-plant based people because it really does answer a lot of the questions most people have about a plant based diet, or living a vegan lifestyle. So check it out!

 

Ha, the good old protein question, it never fails…this probably is the most common question. Well since most of us have been taught from an early age that you need milk for strong bones, and that you need to eat meat for protein, it’s no wonder there is a lot of confusion or misunderstanding when people hear that you [the vegan] sustain yourself on plants. Just check out my food post on Power Bowls to see where I get all my plant based protein from.

Then there is the ‘but don’t you miss bacon‘ question ha. Well, for me I was never a fan of bacon, it was just too greasy, and I didn’t like the taste really (shocker I know). But regardless, no I don’t miss bacon, or any meat for that matter. I know this is difficult for any non-plant based person to fully understand, but as a vegan I simply don’t think of meat the same way; the meat eater probably thinks ‘Mmmm yummy, sizzling meat,’ whereas I think ‘Ughhhh yuck sizzling dead animal pieces.’ I mean most people (in western culture) would cringe at the idea of eating bacon made from dog meat right? Well, not sure why you also wouldn’t cringe at the idea of eating bacon meat made form these wonderful creatures (hint: you’ve been conditioned to respond a certain way – but that still doesn’t make it right) – this is your bacon:

Oh, and for those of you that still see these cute little variations of a dog and think ‘Mmmm bacon,’ well perhaps you should think about this:

 

The milk question, ‘what’s so wrong with milk‘? Those good old “Got Milk?” commercials (funded by the dairy industry of course) sure did a good job of misinforming convincing America how important it is that we drink another species (just think about that for a moment) milk in order to grow big and have strong bones. But of course, these commercials and this message is extremely biased because guess what, the dairy industry needs to make sure people keep buying their product. Well, here is what the dairy industry doesn’t want people to know; there are real negative health implications to drinking this stuff! Oh, not to mention how shitty these poor animals get treated, and killed.

The ‘deserted island‘ proposition, ha! I don’t know why people try to come up with totally unrealistic scenarios just to try to poke holes in someones choice to not eat animals. Long story short, I don’t live on a deserted island so I DO have access to plant based alternatives. But if I was in a totally unrealistic scenario as such, then I’d find plants and berries…or like the gal in the video said, I’d eat what the animals eat. Or, just as unrealistically, I would summon Falkor to pick me up and fly me off this deserted island…peace out! Lets just leave it at that.

But ‘plants have feelings too,’ this is probably one of the comments that gets my blood boiling the most, it’s simply an ignorant (truly misinformed) response when someone doesn’t have (literally is uneducated on the subject of plants, and the fact that they don’t have a brain or central nervous system that would give them the ability to feel) anything better to say when confronted with the cold truth that what they are eating was once a lively sentient creature that had emotions, a personality, and feelings (just like your precious dog or cat).

Lastly, the notion of ‘I just couldn’t do it‘ [go vegan]. Well, yeah changing a custom or routine that you’ve known all your life to something new and different isn’t always easy. But who said that going vegan is something that has to happen over night! Hint: no one. So for anyone thinking of trying a plant based diet, just know that it is simply a transition; take your time with it, start small, or start with a vegetarian diet first. The key here, like they said in the video, is education – the more time you spend learning about a plant based diet, it’s health benefits, and moral and environmental implications, the more informed you become. Moreover, you start to realize all the amazing plant based food there is to eat, how to prepare all these plant based dishes, and how easy it is to make plant based meals. Over time your taste buds adjust, your cravings adjust, and what you once thought was impossible (ditching all your meat and dairy), simply becomes routine and normal. Not to mention, you feel great doing it! At the end of the day I don’t pretend that everyone is going to go vegan, I just wish everyone would simply take the time to be more informed (plant based Vs. non-plant based)!

 

After Party Detox

Just had a big weekend out on the town treating yourself? Well, why don’t you treat your liver! Poor thing has to process all those booze you just threw at it…he’s not too happy about it right now. Yes, I live a plant based life, and yes I do indulge in the party every now and then. For some reason some people think that all vegans don’t drink alcohol; well some do, and some don’t. I’ve never been a big drinker (usually got made fun of for being that guy who only drank like 1-2 beers and was lit), but every now and then I do like to go out with friends, have a couple cocktails, and rip up the local dance floor (this is what that looks like); good thing you don’t have to be a good dancer to enjoy the music.

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(Here is a time I drank a beer – Pacifico, and yes it was vegan)

However, NOT all alcohol is actually vegan, believe it or not some alcohol is actually made with animal products such as isinglass, egg whites, and gelatins (Eeeewww). Unfortunately, most liquor, wine, and beer companies don’t label or indicate if their product is actually vegan or not. So for those of you that care (yes us weirdo vegans), here is a list of vegan liquors and beers. And here is some info on vegan wines.

So anyway, after a night of partying, I always like to negate some of the evil I put into my body. In addition to the obvious course of action like drinking plenty of fluids, replacing electrolytes (coconut water, watermelon water), drinking fresh pressed juices containing beetslemon, and ginger, I also like to add in these liver detoxers to the mix:

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  • Spirulina: this is an algae super food; and you can find this in pill or powder form. Personally, I really like the brand Gaia Herbs, they seem to get the best reviews when it comes to purity, safety, and potency.
  • Chlorella: this is another algae, and can also be found in pill or powder form.
  • Liver Cleanse booster, like this one from Gaia Herbs.
  • Liver Health booster, like this one from Herb Pharma. Plus, this company’s tag line starts with “Treat Yourself…” so automatically I’m a fan!

 

And there you have it, in with the good, and out with the bad! Oh, and I should also mention that I don’t normally take supplements, I’m a firm believer that you can get all your vitamins and nutrients from actual real food! This [After Party Detox] is simply a once in a while thing, where I am looking to give my body a specific boost.

Lastly, since we are on the topic of alcohol, I just want to acknowledge that yes this stuff really is poison for our bodies, so be smart, and moderate. Also, in my experience I have found that there is no real magic bullet to cure or prevent a hangover; not even this After Party Detox will heal you of your hangover. But the point here is to give your body some of the best nutrients to help deal with, process, and eliminate this poison. After a certain amount, that acetaldehyde is bound to ruin your next day. The only real cure for a hangover is 1) don’t drink in the first place, 2) don’t age past 25, and 3) time (yep, you’re just gonna have to wait it out dying on your couch for the next 12-24 hrs…put on some Netflix, or the Pandora ‘Spa’ channel to help you through it). Easier said then done, but live and learn people!

Cheers!

 

 

Tempeh Time!

One of my favorite vegan foods is tempeh; I really enjoy the flavor and texture, and all the different foods I can pair it with. For me, this is one of the better vegan meat alternatives out there because it’s not highly processed like other ‘fake vegan meats’ or veggie burgers, and it’s packed with healthy minerals and protein! I like to bake my tempeh with a little bit of avocado oil, and soy sauce (bake at 400-415 degrees for 20 minutes). Then, I throw it in with salads, sandwiches, burritos, wraps, pastas, and of course my wonderful power bowls! Yes, this is a soy based food, but that doesn’t mean you should run away from it, not all soy is created equal. Because tempeh is fermented, it’s actually a superior form of soy for the body to digest. I always buy the organic tempeh, and I usually just buy the Trader Joe’s brand or the LightLife brand from Whole Foods or Jimbo’s.

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Here’s a little tutorial on how I like to bake my tempeh…get amongst it!